Team In Training: One month to race day

Cecilley and I getting ready for our giant yoga class!


Ahhh!!! I have one month left to the Nike Women’s Marathon. Oh my goodness…

After what felt like the longest two weeks of my life – not running or doing yoga makes me very, very cranky – it was time to put my foot down. Erin, I totally understand your fustration. September means a very busy time for me too, Fall event season tends to get crazy, and although I have no problem fitting yoga into my daily routine I’ve decided to stop being a baby and complaining about not working out. Erin’s September goals really struck a chord with me. I want to run faster and be a better runner. And this won’t happen by me complaining and feeling sorry that I stayed in bed instead of getting up and running that morning. What’s wrong with me?! I would never make an excuse not to work out before.

So, like Erin, I’m doing something about it. I’m going to start waking up early too. Whether I run or not isn’t the point. I want to be awake earlier and start feeling better. That two week drought — as lovely as it was having my friend in town and dancing the nights away at the Ottawa Folk Fest — I need to get back into the swing of things. Promto!

It’s also important for me to accept that breaks are not a bad thing. I know this and I know this is advice I need to listen to and stop beating myself up about. But it’s hard. After looking back, my mini vacations were important. I know I needed the time to disconnect from running and training and enjoy the moments with friends. But now, I am ready to be responosible again.

So here goes nothing! In addition to waking up early I WILL run 4 to 5 times a week. I will do this. And I’ll do yoga the days I don’t run. I need to do this. Not running is one thing, but when you take yoga out of my life I can’t function without being angry at myself. My body also hates me for not doing yoga. I made a promise to myself in the spring to do one morning yoga class a week. I was doing so good and I loved how I felt before, okay maybe not before, but definitely during and after class. I’m going to make this happen again.

Wow, blabbing out all these goals really feels good! I’m feeling so ready and determined right now.

With one month to go I should be feeling this way. Now to make smarter eating choices. The two week bender, if you will, wasn’t my proudest in terms of eating and drinking. This also really bothered me because I have no trouble steering away from bad foods and alcohol during the week. I’m sticking this out once more. Goodbye week day drinking, hello lemon water mornings! I was also a very bad blogger these two weeks. This also upset me. Geeze, a serious life check is in order here. The more I think about the things that upset me during this “empty” time frame the more I want to prevent it from happening again. Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast at the Folk Fest with one of my best girlfriends from University (who I love and admire dearly). But the sad part is, I can’t stop thinking about how I didn’t go to Moksha Ottawa, not once, the whole time I was in Ottawa. This is bad, I know. So, instead of feeling bad and upset by not going then, I’m going to make up for it now. Plus that trip wasn’t about doing yoga it was about be there with my friend and enjoying awesome music. I need to learn how to let go and seperate the different parts of my life.

And lastly sleep. I’m also going to start winding down and settling into bed at a reasonable time from now on. Weekends maybe the exception, but I’m okay with that. Work is getting busy and I want to bring my A game to the office and to my training, once again.

I’m very self sufficient and I know with a little push I can get back into my groove. My fellow Team In Training runners probably think I’ve fallen off the face of the earth — I haven’t been to a Saturday morning run in forever! — missing TNT runs is also coming to a stop. I will be there every Saturday until I leave for San Francisco. Like Erin said before, Show Up! I will show up and be accountable.

Seeing Erin’s monthly goals has made me sit down and set my own. The push from her and a big swift kick in the butt from TNT is just what I need to Be Ready for NWM. Hey, that’s what sisters are for!


Team In Training: A two-week struggle


As I was sitting inside Saturday morning at my hostel in Ottawa during the Ottawa Folk Festival – hey, fit girls need to have some fun too – I realized not getting my long run in this morning was killing me. Killing me! It was raining, thundering, there was also lightning! And I also slept in. Although all these excuses are completely acceptable for not running that particular morning, I am also now a month away from the Nike Women’s Half Marathon and the more I don’t run, the more I bothers me. The daunting words from NWM’s slogan “No Excuses” and the fact that Graham (my housemate and fellow Santa Speedo runner) is a newly christened Ironman eats at my soul. I have zero reasons to avoid running. There is an Ironman living in my house. And to make matters even worse, I actually enjoy running! And I can’t stand being thrown off my routine (like I hadn’t minded as much before). What is going on here? Am I actually becoming a runner?! Is this what happens, withdraw kicks in and you begin to need to run? I never thought I’d see the light of day when I would choose running over yoga (mostly because I have to for the shake of making my goal time of sub 2 hours). But seriously. Jill the runner seems too bizarre to be true. But I kind of like it.

Getting away is good, but what are you to do when friends are in town or you plan a mini vacation? Temptations can be tough and these past two weeks have proved to be just that for me. I’ve been awful and felt awful for not doing anything. Somehow I did managed to run when I was supposed to, it was the other choices I’m made – eating, drinking, going to bed late – that, like I said before, were killing me. I guess one has to put their foot down and say how they feel, “I need yoga or I will be a bad friend”, or “You can have a drink, I’m not”. Removing yourself from these situations is much easier then having to stand up for yourself and your training. I’ve come to realize this now. But I do feel as though good friends will respect you for your decisions. You are running a race after all.

While my friend was in town visiting my plan was you run in the mornings (while she’d be sleeping) and invite her to yoga on the days I wanted to do yoga. Easy! But the morning runs, they didn’t happen. Nor did the yoga. Ugh! My life felt over! But again, somehow I did do yoga (just not as much as my yoga addicted self would). Thankfully 889 at the Thompson and Lululemon’s last Yoga Unplugged took place Saturday of the long weekend and this was something my friend wanted to do! Yay for yoga! (Another post to come with a full review of the class.) I also traded the Monday evening at Downtown and managed to practiced Tuesday after work. I needed yoga, for me, these days.

Because you chose to do yoga doesn’t make you a bad friend. That’s how I feel anyway. The solution to vacationing or having guests in your place for lengthy periods of time (which also takes away for your blogging duties – thanks to Erin she was not as bad as I!) is that you need a plan. Plan the nights and mornings you want to run, practice, or whatever it is you need to do and stick to it! That’s the best advice I can give after my 2 week experience and training glitch. Your friends will understand. And invite them along! Why not, it could be fun and something you can do together.

Your training will thank you for it.




TNT Fundraising Update: Yoga, On the Beach & LLSC Lottery Winners!



A few weeks ago before the “2 month till race day mark” officially passed I was feeling quite anxious about NWM and running all together. Let’s face it Cecilley and I have a lot of fundraising left to do and time is running out. In my mind a few months back, I wanted us to have reached half our goal by now. Long story short, we haven’t.

But thankfully Jackie Szabo, my yoga teacher wonder, and her generous soul wanted to help us out. We put together the LLSC Lottery and bam! Donations started coming through. Then we planned Yoga, On the Beach! And as luck would have it, even more donations were contributed to our cause. Thank you, friends!

I started to feel a little more at ease.

So now that Cecilley and I have two successful fundraising events under our belts we would first like to send a big congratulations to Robin McLuskie the grand prize winner of the Weekend Yoga Retreat at the Harmony Dawn with Jackie and Jess Lemon!

And congratulations to our other lucky winners: Kristi Soomer, Jennifer Piggott, and Deborah Hudson!

But the highlight of this fundraising journey, for me, will forever be doing yoga at Sugar Beach. Unfortunately, the particular weekend we chose was looking gloomy and rain was in the forecast. The two most terrible signs you could deal with when planning a morning yoga class outside at a beach. After humming and ha-ing over what to do, we decided to play it safe and not gamble with Mother Nature. We switched the date to Sunday that Friday afternoon. Changing the date of your event is never a good thing because you risk losing people. Sadly, one RSVP no longer could come, but the sun shine, she came that morning.

It was picturesque view. The sun glistening on the water, the sand glowing under our mats – it almost felt like being in Costa Rica again. Almost. Minus the pick umbrellas behind us.

Doing yoga on the sand was harder then it seemed. The ground was a bit uneven which meant you had to be extra mindful in balancing poses. We worked hard, we sweat, and breathed in the lake water breeze as we flowed. It was all good. We even had a few spectators – a mix of bikers, tourists and perhaps some party goers from the night before. Again, it was all good and something to do again for sure! Jackie made the class fun as always and with only four people practicing, we all received special attention. It’s impossible to have a bad class with Jackie, sand or no sand, she is a joy to have guided us through this class. I am forever grateful to have a spirit like Jackie’s in my life to mentor me as a yogi and inspire me as a teacher. Jackie, thank you!


Even lunges on the beach were harder than a practice room!


And the fun doesn’t stop there. Our upcoming events include (please email me if you’re interested in attending or would like more information):

8pm Karma Class at Moksha Yoga Downtown, Friday August 24th (all proceeds of this class will support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada)

Come And Swap It! A clothing swap at Cecilley’s House, Saturday August 25th (donations accepted at the door. We will even come pick up the clothes at your house in advance)

We hope to see you there!

Yoga, On the Beach!

UPDATE: Due to rain, Yoga on the Beach will now take place on Sunday, August 12 at 8am. Hope you can join us!


Now that you’ve all purchased your Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada lottery tickets – because I know everyone has – I wanted to extend the invitation to attend Yoga, On the Beach. Yes, this is another Team In Training fundraiser Cecilley and I have planned. As I said before, we have a long ways to go!


Okay, so the class won’t be at this beach. But you can pretend!


Come yogis, one and all! And start your weekend off on the right foot.

Join us at Sugar Beach for a special sunrise class on the beach staring at 8am. We’ll be rising and shining to a funky, creative vinyasa flow, taught by the amazing Jackie Szabo.

Your donation of $15 will help support Cecilley and Jill’s marathon mission, and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. Please leave a comment on our donation page indicating your attendance to the class.

Please bring your mat, some water, and a towel for a possible after yoga dip, perhaps? And for those interested, optional brunch will follow. We haven’t yet picked a spot so please leave your suggestions.

And for those who may be driving, there is an Impark located at 178 Queens Quay East. Important details to provide for event planning. As well as directions – google maps! And again the time is 8am to 9am on Saturday, August 11th Sunday, August 12th.


This is proof. If you come do yoga on the beach, you will be as cool as Cecilley.


Honestly, what could be better than yoga, brunch and great company?

We hope to see you there!

The LLSC Wellness Lottery – a TNT fundraising effort


Wow, August is finally here. And with that came a very scary realization for me – come August 14th, Cecilley and I will have exactly 2 months until our (half) marathon mission will happen. Oh my goodness… that literally just sank in. Holy crap! The clock it ticking and the weeks are winding down. I need to step up my game here, start running way more, run some hills, and get on this fundraising business.

We have so much to do, and so little time.

This is where we can really use your help! One fundraiser Cecilley and I have going on is the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada Wellness Lottery!

Jackie Szabo and Jess Lemmon (two very lovely Moksha Yoga teachers) are organizing a yoga retreat August 17th – August 19th at the Harmony Dawn Ontario Retreat titled, “Building Strength In Your Practice.” Sounds amazing right? Well you could still go to this sold out retreat – how? That’s where we come in.

For a $27 dollar donation made to our fundraising pledge, you will be entered in the lottery for a change to win accomidations to the reatreat with Jackie and Jess. That’s the grand prize.

There are four prizes to be won including, two 5 class cards to any Moksha Yoga studio you wish, dinner for two at Feel Good Guru and lastly a David’s Tea prize pack.

All proceeds from this lottery will be used to fund blood cancer research across Canada and provide educational support services for those affected by the illness. The intention of the Wellness Lottery is to incorporate cancer prevention into our fundraising efforts. As such each prize promotes environmental sustainability and a healthy, active lifestyle.

Still have questions. Just ask me! But hurry the lottery closes Friday, August 10th.

2012, what else is in store?

My first race! How is 2012 halfway over?


2012 has been a crazy (and amazing) fitness year so far. When this blog idea actually came to life, I found myself wanting to do as many blog worthy classes, races, climbs whatever, just to write about them. I’ve had moments of self discovery, found rage I didn’t knew existed in me, but more importantly I can cross off some of the new years resolutions from my list. Remember way back when?…

Not only have I completed a 30 day yoga challenge, I did two – yes, Matt, I’m saying two – I have JK to back me up here! This is where the self discipline, friendly coaching, and pure determination to power though really kicked in. I quickly realized fitness (at any level) can fit into your daily routine quite easily, if you let it. Mind you, I still make excuses not to, but instead ask myself if this is what I really need right now? It’s okay not to practice yoga three times a day, every day. Although I do find it very hard now a days to not go a day without practicing. This could also be because I’m crazy.

I ran a real race! And not only that I’ve done two so far, my third is coming up in August – the Mid Summer Night’s Run I’m running with Erin. And I will run a half marathon before the year is out. Again, this could also be a refection of my obsessive personality.

I also joined a running group, Erin’s Pubruns running group, and found a new yoga/running/work best friend to drag along with me, but who has inspired me to take on more fitness adventures (and is teaching me everything doesn’t have to be a competition). Yes, I’m talking about you, Cecilley!

As for eating more healthy and being aware of what’s going into my body, I Lived My Moksha and really tried to implement each of the 7 pillars into my life. Some weeks where easier than others, but that’s the whole part of a challenge. And no I still have not claimed my head stand prize. The competition was put on hold. I think Graham is scared. Although I’ve gave him zero reason to be afraid.

2012 has taught me a lot of important things. Don’t be afraid to try new things, to set intentions as well as goals, and to listen to my body. This head stand competition will be the fail of 2012 I can see that coming. But I will continue to look at the positives – like climbing the CN Tower, my new mission to save lives, I met Ted Grand! I paddled the Don, I went on a yoga retreat and I’m now considering my yoga teacher training. (Hint: I also may or may not be going on another retreat with Jackie over the holidays.). All positive experiences.

I used to be afraid of the how: How will I make things happen? How will I become a real runner and run marathons? How will I pay for another trip to Costa Rica? Haha… I’m making things happening right before me. 2012, it’s been fun. But I may have spoken too soon. Erin has a new mission for us – the Toronto Urban Warrior – oh my. This could be very interesting.

The only item that needs a check is my triathlon training. But hey I still have another 6 months for this, and the summer has only just begun!

Extension moves like Jennifer


What: Allegro Ballet Boot Camp
When: Tuesday @ 6:30
Where: The Extension Room (30 Eastern Avenue)
Who: Jennifer Nichols

I’m putting it out there – I always wanted to be a dancer growing up. Always. I just can’t help myself with movies like Save the Last Dance, Center Stage, and Step Up (I had to throw in a Channing Tatum reference!). Not to mention, I idolized Stephanie Tanner as a kid. Her fun aerobic routines that would get Uncle Jesse and Uncle Joey sweating up a storm just to keep up. Stephanie was clearly my favorite, she could totally relate to my middle child symdrom.

To this day I still hold a slight resentment towards my mother for not enrolling me in dance as a child. But if my dancing skills at the Extension Room were any indication of what my early years would have been like, I should probably thank my Mom for saving me a lot of embarrassment. Thanks Mom, I guess.

First discovery I made about dancers, no wonder their bodies are completely amazing. What they do, it’s not easy! And here I thought I was flexible — to a certain degree — because of yoga. But no. If anything this Ballet Boot Camp put me to shame. I had no idea what Ballet Boot Camp was until Cecilley brought it up once. And since this day, I’ve wanted nothing more then to try it. Clearly, work out dancing would be amazing. Apparently it’s the new work out craze, and no wonder. I would love to Ballet Sculpt every chance I had – if it meant I’d be on my way like Billy Elliott. Lucky for me, Team In Training mentor Cory Pagett, was planning a cross training event for us (as a mentor it is your duty to plan a fun run or something for the group to do outside our weekly runs). Cory planned classes at the Extension Room for us. Oh boy! destiny awaits, I would Take the Lead once and for all.

Fat chance.

Walking into the studio, I wasn’t afraid. But having left, it took some of my confidence with it. I will be back for this! I should blame Cory for his strong emphasis on the fact that no classical dance experience is required. Lies! Okay, may be that’s not entirely true. If you have some dance knowledge it will help a lot. Don’t go into this particular class blindsided – though you’ll probably be better off than I was. And having a bit of rhythm wouldn’t hurt.

The Extension Room has a welcoming intimidation to it, so don’t be fooled by the niceness it portrays. It will kick your butt and sole all at the same time. But will leave you wanting more. How? I don’t really know. I think it’s Jennifer and her hypnotizing movements. If only I moved and looked the like Jennifer. God love her for putting up with me, I really felt (and I’m sure it looked like) had no idea what I was doing!

Although Jennifer was a great teacher, I could not for the life of me know what was going on, when and where to kick my legs, then point my feet, and wave our arms, then to do this all at once was very hard for a first timer like me. The jumping, squatting, and core work at the end of class, however, I could do that. I enjoyed the uptempo and high energy of the class. You literally keep moving and don’t stop till the hour is done. That I liked.

Simpler instructions would have helped me, but I may have been too fixated on Jennifer. I’m a visual learner, I need to see what it is I’m supposed to be doing. Next time I will try and listen and use the mirror for myself. And maybe not stare at Jennifer so much.

Cory thanks for your help, I needed your words of encouragement more than ever that night.

Take this class if: You are ready for the ultimate dance work out.


Bonus! For your viewing pleasure, here’s a classic Stephanie Tanner dance routine.

Team In Training – Jill’s marathon mission

First, don’t be fooled. I am not running a full marathon… Yet. Although these past 4 weeks with my new Team In Training community would have you thinking otherwise. I will not, or cannot, run a full marathon before Erin does. I owe it to her, doing my my 30 day secret challenge in secret was enough. And besides Erin has worked very hard and deserves that glory before me. Gosh, I am such a good sister.

Since day one of TNT training (May 26th) I’ve run with the full marathoners. This was either by complete accident, by default, or by no choice other than my own. I’m rather afraid of San Francisco and the mountainious treck the Nike Women’s Marathon has set for us. My housemate Charlie (and Nike marathon participant last year) gave me the idea that training with the full marathoners would make the mountains easier to climb come October 14th. So that’s what I’ve decided to do. We shall see how right Charlie is this fall.

Now that my mission to run a half marathon is really on, how exactly was I able to get into the Nike Marathon without entering the lottery or without any marathon running experience at all? It’s through Team In Training, the charity organized by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada, that’s how. Through Team In Training I was granted automatic entry into a marathon of my choice (there are a series of races TNT can send participants to which usually require special entry in some way). Clearly, I was going to San Francisco and not staying here in Toronto. Given the choice, why not? I would love a Tiffany necklace handed to me by a beautiful firefighter, thank you! Team In Training also sets you up with a running coach and a fundraising coach to help you along the way. TNT also fully equipped us with a weekly training program, and not only do we meet every Saturday to run as a group, our coaches provide weekly tips and inspiration for everything running related — from shoes, to stretches, to what food to eat — there are people who’s job it is to answer all my questions. And having very little running experience going into this, this eased my nerves.


Running & fundraising makes Cecilley and I very excited!


The other component to Team In Training is the fundraising. No, you do not get a free ride to any marathon courtesy of the lovely folks at LLSC. You have to give back. But trust me its completely worth it. Because Cecilley and I have decide to stick this out together we’re combining our fundraising efforts and set a combined goal of $8000 to raise for LLSC. The minimum is $3800 each, or we can’t go. We’re going with optimism here, we’ll make it there I know it. A big chuck of our proceeds earned go directly to the LLSC to help support those living and fighting leukemia and lymphoma, though research and improving treatment facilities. A portion, yes, will get Cecilley and I to the half marathon, but we’re running with the cause in mind.

It was Cecilley after all who convinced me to do this in the first place. I had no idea what TNT was before she told me this was some we had to do. But it was I who suggested we run in San Fran. I truly believe we are the perfect pair, just like Jody and Beth from Gold Diggers: The Secret Of Bear Mountain. I’m Jody in case you’re wondering.

Now that you know what I’ll be doing for the next 5 months I have to ask – if you’re feeling generous and want to support Cecilley and I as our mission to run a half marathon (and save lives) has begun, we’d appreciate all the help we can get! This is our donation page. 🙂

Thanks for your support! I’m going for a sub 2-hour time, if that’s not worth something, I don’t know what is.

Living Your Moksha week #5 – Outreach

We're reaching out!


After Sangha Support week was done, I’ve was feeling a whole lot better. I did many acts of kindness. My cousin from Halifax was in town, so it was easy kind of easy to be nice. I treated her to lunch, bought her snacks at very competitive volleyball matches we went to together. I even took Friday off work to take her to Toronto Island. I was a very good elder cousin. I even tried to bring her to a Moksha class to complete the super challenge for the week — introduce Moksha to someone new — but Erica wasn’t having it. Hey, I tried at least!

The Sunday of Sangha Support week was Moksha Downtown’s Boost Party and I was ready to celebrate. At first my plan was to go to the evening yin class then boggie home to bed. But, with very little effort from Erin (again not our Erin, but MYD studio manager), I was easily persuaded to stay. We watched the Hungry For Change (which every should see) and enjoy yummy kale chips from Feel Good Guru (which everyone should eat). And to wash it all down we drank local organic beer! Yogis know how to party.

So what was in store for week #5? Outreach.

Yoga is a community of givers. This week we were inspired to give back to another community. Whether it was volunteering at a charity or organizing you feel passionate about. The idea is to give back an hour of your time each day. This is why I love the Moksha world and yoga so much – I feel inspired to change the world, myself and the people around me. I want to do great things (I have no idea what those great things will be just yet), but more often than I like, the pressures of reality set in and some of my dreams seem impossible. With yoga, I feel unstoppable and nothing is impossible.

Outreach for me was another non-scary week because Cecilley and I are in full Team In Training mode! We are planning events, brainstorming ideas to fundraise, all while planing west coast adventure. And of course we are running. Every Saturday at 8am we hit the pavement with the TNT Ontario community.

Getting involved with TNT was my way (at first) to get to LA before I turn 27. Remember Bran Van 3000? Ya, me too and that was my plan to go drinking in LA. At 26. When Cecilley found out she too was on board for the plan. But Cecilley had slightly better intentions than I. She wanted to go for a cause and TNT was the cause to get us there. All of a sudden TNT became my way of running a half marathon. Who wouldn’t want to got to San Francisco for the Nike Women’s Marathon?!

After 4 weeks with Team In Training there is no doubt my intentions have changed. People involved have a reason to flight and participate. The stories I’ve heard are inspirational and with TNT anyone can be a runner. That’s just what I needed to hear. I’m running to help better the lives of those living with Leukemia & Lymphoma – this is how I’m reaching out. And when it’s all over, I will find another community to get involved with. That’s what a good yogi would do (and I’m always thinking TWTD do?).

Here Ted reaches out to all the yogis in the Moksha community to encouraging change for the world and change with ourselves. I will change the world, Ted, I will!